Omphalocele is a birth defect. It is a gap in the muscles and skin where the belly button should be. Abdominal tissue and organs push through the gap to the outside of the body where they are contained in a sac.
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The cause of omphalocele is not known. It may be due to a mix of genes and the environment.
Omphalocele is more common in girls.
The risk of this problem is higher in people who are pregnant and:
- Take certain medicines, such as asthma medicine and antidepressants
- Drinking alcohol
Being overweight or obese before pregnancy also raises the risk.
An omphalocele will be seen around the belly button.
Omphalocele may be suspected during a fetal ultrasound. After birth, an omphalocele can be found by viewing it.
The omphalocele will need to be repaired with surgery. The goal of surgery is to put the tissue back in place and close the gap. How this is done depends on the size of the omphalocele. More than one surgery may be needed.
A pregnant person can lower the risk of omphalocele in the baby by:
- Reaching a healthy weight before becoming pregnant
- Talking to the doctor about medicines taken during pregnancy, especially asthma medicine and antidepressants
- Not smoking
- Not drinking alcohol
- Facts about omphalocele. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/Omphalocele.html.
- Omphalocele. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/omphalocele.
- Kari Kuenn, MD
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